Melbourne writer Christos Tsiolkas has been awarded one of Australia’s richest literary prizes in recognition of his work spanning a quarter of a century.
The $60,000 Melbourne prize for literature was announced on Wednesday, with Tsiolkas honoured for his “outstanding contribution to Australian literature and to cultural and intellectual life”, according to the prize’s judges, which included writers Declan Fry and Alice Pung, and Michael Williams, the artistic director of the Sydney writers’ festival.
Tsiolkas has written a number of bestsellers, including Loaded, The Slap and Barracuda. Many of his works have been reproduced for television and film.
His 2020 novel Damascus won last year’s Victorian premier’s prize for fiction.
In a short speech, Tsiolkas thanked his family and his publisher, Jane Palfreyman, saying: “I feel like the luckiest fella tonight.”
A new $20,000 professional development award was also announced on Wednesday, with the co-editor of the Overland literary journal, Evelyn Araluen, being the inaugural recipient. Her debut collection of prose and poetry, Dropbear, was published in 2020.
Essayist, poet and critic Eloise Grills won the $15,000 writer’s prize.
The publicly voted $3,000 civic choice award will be announced on 11 November.